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Old 11-13-2009, 06:53 AM   #1
HiddenMickeys
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Parker Brothers on the High Seas - 3 Day Wonder 11/5/09 (LOTS of pics!) UPDATED 12/6

Hello Gang! We had an incredible time on our first ever Disney Cruise.

So, I figured it's a good time to start the trip report before I start forgetting details.

Let me set the stage of characters for you.

There is Myself (Mike -41), DW (Mary-41), DD (Becca-17), and DS (Mikey-14)


Also traveling in the stateroom next to ours was my brother and his family:

My Brother (Tom-44), DW (Debbie-43), DS (Tommy-14), and DS (Justin-9).



This trip was a long time coming. We had actually purchased airfare to cruise in 2008, but do to being laid off, I had to cancel and Tom also took ill and was out of work for a bit, and they cancelled as well.

Other than having to eat $75 per person from Airtran, I was able to use my credit toward future flights within a year from when we first PURCHASED (NOT a year from our travel dates). I got lucky twice. The travel dates for this trip opened up about 3 weeks before I would have run out of time, AND our fares were very high that we had to cancel. So, I was able to book airfare for us with the credit, and even with the $300 loss for the 4 of us, we got super low fares this time and didnt have to pay a dime (well, technically we already had, a year ago lol)....happy dance!

There were a few reasons that we booked this cruise. 1, nobody had ever cruised before except for my wife Mary. She cruised back in the 1980's as a teen on the SS Norway (which, at THAT time was the biggest cruise ship in the world) and we was sick the entire time. So reason one for a short trip? Make sure no one gets sick.

The second reason was we just weren't sure if cruising was "for us". We have been to WDW too many times to count, and the thought of flying into MCO and NOT going to WDW was just plain crazy to us, but we were willing to give it a shot.

So the cruise was set, the airfare all set, and this is where our journey begins my friends...
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:03 AM   #2
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Day 1 - November 4,2009. Philadelphia to MCO to Port Canaveral.


So, we woke up at 4am for our 7am flight from philadelphia to orlando. We changed our cruise countdown on the fridge, and all did a little happy dance.



We posed for a quick pic for Mary's scrapbook:


Then it was off to PHL for our flight to MCO.



Pretty soon it was bye-bye Philly:


and HELLOOOOOOOOOOO ORLANDO!



I want to take a second and put in a word here for Airtran out of Philly. We have used them over and over, and have never had a problem unlike the horror stories we had with southwest (but that would take a whole thread in itself). This time around it was beyond great. We arrived at the gate about 1 1/2 hours before the flight and they started loading the plane an hour before takeoff as it was ready, and made an announcement that as soon as everyone had boarded they would leave early. Seriously? Well, yes. Our flight was due to leave at 7am, but we backed out of the gate at 6:25 and were airborne by 6:35. Got to love it! Apparently people going to orlando dont play around and show up last minute, so I guess a thanks is also in order for everyone else on our flight for being on time lol. In any event from the service in philly, to how quickly our luggage came both in mco and back home again in philly, and also the painless curbside check-in in orlando (which was a VERY nice change from years gone by) I just want to give Airtran their due. They were fantastic.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:25 AM   #3
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We booked a room the night before the cruise, and also for 2 nights after, at the Radisson Resort @ the port.

Since we had a group of 8, the prices we got from Happy Limo were actually less than the disney busses. Also, with coming in early, leaving late, the busses were not an option anyway. But, if you have a larger group of I would say 6 or more, you may want to investigate limo's vs the disney busses.

We upgraded from the standard limo to a navigator limo because the standard limo holds 8, and we were a group of 8 but 5 of us are on the "fluffy" side, plus we had a lot of bags, so we went up a step to the navigator which holds 14 and a bit more luggage.

We have read conflicting reports here on the Dis about happy limo, and yes I do believe almost ALL bad experiences get reported but only a small fraction of the good one's do.

I will say this. I have absolutely NOTHING but HIGH praise for happy limo. The service was excellent, on time, and everything they said it would be.

Our driver, George, was waiting for us at the bottom of the escalators in baggage claim (just as they said he would be) with a sign that said not only our name but happy limo as well. Apparently there are a few scam companies with very similar names who try to steal passengers. You get to your destination and are charged far more than expected. We got a long e-mail from Happy about this before we left. So just be careful and read carefully. If in doubt, with any service not just HL, ask for ID.

Annnnnnnnnnyway. George was happily waiting to greet us right where they said he would be:


He helped us gather our bags onto a cart, and took us out a side door behind the rental car counters and the car was literally right there:


George loaded all the bags himself, despite Tom and I trying to help lol, and then told us all to pose for a picture. We didn't ask, he just took it upon himself. Very nice...


My son, Mikey, was the first inside the limo and Mary snapped a picture of him doing his "mac daddy" pose lol. (and YES, this is now his facebook profile picture)


and here are a couple more limo pics. George had sodas (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and Coke zero) on ice for us, and showed us those and also how to use the control panel for the limo. He put on Madagascar for the kids to watch on the way.




Then it was time to shut the doors and get this trip started. We were off from the airport and on our way to the Radisson. Not only in style, but also SAVING money at the same time.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:40 AM   #4
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Looks like a great start to a WONDERful trip!! Can't wait to read the rest of your report.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:46 AM   #5
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We stopped along the way at a publix, were we picked up a few 12 packs of soda. Now, I have posted about this on the main board, and some people don't get it. Soda is free, soda is free....yes, it is. And, your experience may be different. But let me tell you that for US, it was great. Why?

1. When we would get back to the room at night and then want to call room service at 1-1:30am and everyone was in their pj's, NOBODY wanted to run up to deck 9. Period. And dad (me lol) wasnt too fond of having to pay room service for drinks every time we called.

2. An unforseen benefit. After the first night, where we had literally 5 minutes to run from our room to the show (we had late dinner) we BOUGHT soda outside the theater (forgetting we had some in the fridge in the room). So, the rest of the trip, we grabbed some from our fridge. Others have said they go to deck 9 before the show. Well, maybe it was because it was our first cruise or maybe bad time management, but EVERY day we ended up leaving the room with 5-10 minutes left until the show by the time we all had showered and dressed for the show/Dinner. So going up to deck 9 just wasn't in the cards.

So take it for what it's worth, but for us, we will be bringing MORE soda next time.

Ok, I am jumping ahead of myself here. lol So, after we stopped at publix it was off to the Radisson.





Now we had reserved the 2 room whirlpool suite, which had free internet (i took the laptop) a king bed, and also a pull out sleeper sofa for the kids. As well as, well, the Jacuzzi. Here are a few pics of the room, which we thought was very roomy, beautiful, and very worth the price (which wasnt bad at all).
















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Old 11-13-2009, 08:14 AM   #6
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Now, the website makes the grounds of the Radisson look wonderful, but a small part of me wondered "How old are the Pictures?" and "Are they only showing the good stuff."

Well, I'm here to tell you that the grounds of the Radisson are simply fantastic. We are SO happy that we chose to stay there. You want recent pics, here they are. Decide for yourselves...

Pool Bar/Patio Area:


Hot Tub with a "Just right temperature" Hot Waterfall to the right of the main pool. Tom joked it reminded him of Hef's Grotto. But Boy, was it niiiiiiiiiiice.


Koi Pond with HUGE koi fish.




View of the pool / Waterfall
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:37 AM   #7
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Hey, when you're from NJ and it's November, somtimes all it takes to make you happy is a palm tree.


So, we checked into the radisson, got settled in the rooms, walked the grounds, and then hunger set in.

Ok so.....FOOD! There is a McDonalds literally right across the street from the radisson. A subway shop is next door, as well as an italian/pizza place. But I have to give a huge shout out (sorry, I'll act my age now lol) To Zachary's Family Restaurant. It is run by a greek family (several greek dishes on the menu) but they have standard selections as well. The staff were fantastic, the food was plentiful, and the prices can't be beat. Want an example? Ok for lunch i actually had breakfast (since we were up so early) 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, a ton of home fries, and toast for $7.95. And DW says their home made rice pudding is to die for. I'm not a rice pudding fan, but she actually had ds go back over and get some each day after the cruise. lol
The restuarant is adjacent to the radisson. You literally leave the main entrance parking lot and walk about 15-20 yards across a grassy field. Anyway, if you are staying at the radisson and want a quick bite that isn't fast food, I HIGHLY recommend these guys.



After lunch it was back to the room for a quick change and them time to hit that hot tub (and pool). They just looked too darn inviting.





I actually got several comments, compliments and questions about my Mickey tattoo that I got on my chest a year ago for my 40th birthday. I paid it no attention until people started talking about it, then I remembered it was there lol.

Anyway, this pic was taken a year ago right after it was finished (hence the redness lol) but at least gives you all an idea of what I'm talking about. lol



After a few hours in the pool and hot tub, a quick change, and another trip to Zachary's for dinner, it's was time for the kiddies to get some rest. (gotta love the tongue huh? lol)



Tomorrow we finally Board the WONDER!!!!!

Will post more in a bit.
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Old 11-13-2009, 02:55 PM   #8
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Spectacular photos. You did a good job and I can't wait for more.

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Old 11-14-2009, 05:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiddenMickeys View Post
We stopped along the way at a publix, were we picked up a few 12 packs of soda. Now, I have posted about this on the main board, and some people don't get it. Soda is free, soda is free....yes, it is. And, your experience may be different. But let me tell you that for US, it was great. Why?

1. When we would get back to the room at night and then want to call room service at 1-1:30am and everyone was in their pj's, NOBODY want to run up to deck 9. Period. And dad (me lol) wasnt too fond of having to pay room service for drinks every time we called.

2. An unforseen benefit. After the first night, where we had literally 5 minutes to run from our room to the show (we had late dinner) we BOUGHT soda outside the theater (forgetting we had some in the fridge in the room). So, the rest of the trip, we grabbed some from our fridge. Others have said they go to deck 9 before the show. Well, maybe it's was because it was our first cruise or maybe bad time management, but EVERY day we ended up leaving the room with 5-10 minutes left until the show by the time we all had showered and dressed for the show/Dinner.

So take it for what it's worth, but for us, we will be bringing MORE soda next time.
I agree! DH is a Diet Coke addict and loves it first thing in the AM instead of coffee. I mistakenly thought there was no need to bring any since it was free at the beverage station. Even though we were only a couple of decks down from 9, at times it was a hassle to run up there. And no matter what type of container I put it in, it would go flat within 15 min. We're definitely bringing some for the room next time.

Enjoying your report and all the pics and the Philly sweatshirts!! Can't wait to read more.
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Old 11-14-2009, 04:32 PM   #10
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Ok so.....FOOD! There is a McDonalds literally right across the street from the radisson. A subway shop is next door, as well as an italian/pizza place. But I have to give a huge shout out (sorry, I'll act my age now lol) To Zachary's Family Restaurant. It is run by a greek family (several greek dishes on the menu) but they have standard selections as well. The staff were fantastic, the food was plentiful, and the prices can't be beat. Want an example? Ok for lunch i actually had breakfast (since we were up so early) 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, a ton of home fries, and toast for $7.95. And DW says their home made rice pudding is to die for. I'm not a rice pudding fan, but she actually had ds go back over and get some each day after the cruise. lol
The restuarant is adjacent to the radisson. You literally leave the main entrance parking lot and walk about 15-20 yards across a grassy field. Anyway, if you are staying at the radisson and want a quick bite that isn't fast food, I HIGHLY recommend these guys.

I have to agree with my brother. The BEST part about Zachary's is that almost everything is HOME MADE!! They have interesting combos too. They serve breakfast untill 3pm, and have a meal that has 2 pork chops, 2 eggs, homefries, and toast for $9.95. The potatoes were hand sliced and seasoned, as were the pork chops (from a pork loin). The chops had a charcoal grilled taste that was out of this world. Breakfast for 4 people with
tip was $45.00, which isn't bad, especially when you figure we ate so much good food that we didn't even bother to eat lunch, as no one was hungry until dinner!! We actually saved $40 per day on our budget by eating here and skipping lunch....even the kids loved the food!
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:19 AM   #11
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Ready for MORE!!!


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Old 11-21-2009, 12:19 PM   #12
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Ok gang, here we go. Sorry for the delay. Despite washing my hands always, and using the wipes at the restaurants and such, the day after we got off the ship I got a sore throat, then a chest cold (so I thought) and yep, doc told me the other day I have the ol' miss piggy, as he's calling it. (swine flu). So, i've been coughing and feeling like doo-doo for ...well it will be 2 weeks on Monday. So hopefully it will leave soon.

So, sorry for the delay, but now we're back. lol

Where were we? Oh yes, the Radisson...

Day 2 - I'm on a boat!!!!!!!!!

I Woke up very early and decided to go take a walk around the grounds of the hotel. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the Wonder coming back into port at about 5:15ish. I took a few pics, but they didn't turn out well at all. In person you could see very well, but in the pics it's just a bunch of blurry lights. So I watched the ship dock, which was very cool, then headed back to the room and rounded up my bro and his boys and dw and the kids (tom's wife deb was in the shower, we didnt leave her on purpose lol) and we all headed back to see the ship. By now there was some daylight, so here's a pic from our hotel and our first real "in person" view of the ship:


We had a quick breakfast at Zachary's (love that place lol), checked out of the hotel and waited for our ride to the port.

Ok, this is where it gets fun. Hang on, i'll start a new post for THIS one.
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:31 PM   #13
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Great report and photos but we want MORE!!!
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Old 11-21-2009, 01:14 PM   #14
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So momma and I were relaxing, sitting on a bench outside of the Radisson waiting for our ride:




Did he say ride? Or did he say shuttle? I said ride, my friends, remember that. lol

Sooooooooooooo. Brother Tom and I, after reading some of the horror stories about the Radisson shuttle and wait times and such, decided in our infinite wisdom to call a transportation service (ie TAXI) to get us to the port. Why when the shuttle is free you ask?

Well, for one we wanted to avoid the hassle and lines of waiting for a shuttle. Second, the shuttle doesnt start running until 10, and we wanted to be at the port at 10. Why? We're asking ourselves that same question now, it was not necessary at all as we weren't looking to upgrade, but I digress...

So, at the recommendation of someone from the board who is in the area (thats all I'm saying lol) and DOES give great info and advice, we called this company.

Ok so for all 8 of us it was supposed to be $40 total. $2o per family, and we thought well worth it to not have to deal with drama.

Well friends, it seems the drama gods were a little bored that day, and must have said to themselves "What kind of shenanigans can we conjure up for our buddies Mike and Tom today?"

ok, here we go. lol. We called a private company, a Taxi, to take us from point a to point b, and we were being quoted a fee for that service.

Because we were a group of 8, rather than send taxi's they sent a shuttle bus. Ok, fine by us. The Driver arrived at about 9:50 for our scheduled 9:45 pick up. Again, no biggie. We're easy like Sunday mornin', no sweat.

So, the driver comes out and says "Parker family?".."Yes"..."to the Disney Wonder, correct?"..."Yes".

And we load our bags in the back and all board the bus.


The driver shuts the doors and has to wait a minute for cars in front of him to move. No problem, we're on our way to our great cruise and we're all smiling, see? lol


Those smiles didn't last very long.

Suddenly a woman and her husband knock on the bus door. The driver opens the door and the woman says "Disney Wonder, right?" and starts to climb on as her husband takes her suitcase. The driver says "No ma'am, this is a private charter, not the shuttle, that should be here shortly" and shuts the door. The woman storms off to the "radisson guy with the clipboard" and I see him shaking his head no as the woman seems to be arguing with him. Meanwhile we are waiting for a clear path so we can leave. As it opens up, the driver starts moving and is flagged down frantically by the "radisson guy". The driver gets out....ok, we are all loaded, ready to go, and now WE are the ones blocking traffic. I look at my brother and literally say "Dude, W.T.F?" next thing we know, the driver is opening the back, throwing their suitcases in and here they come on the bus.

Let's stop for a moment here. We ARE easy going guys, and there WAS room left on the bus. Remember those 2 things.

Ok, so now we are delayed a good 10 minutes because of all of this. I do believe my dw's words to me later on were that "Debbie and I could see the steam coming our of both of you two's ears at that point"

Ok, the driver gets in, shuts the door and says "Ok, here we go"...

Ok, wait a second, back up the truck (literally lol). What???

So, we engage the couple, well we try. We ask "So, what is he charging you two for the ride?". We get a response from the woman of "Charge? what charge? We're riding to the ship from the hotel, I have no idea what you are talking about" and then proceeds to turn and look out the window.

EXCUSE ME?????????????????????????

We try again. "Well maam, this is a taxi, we called it, for our family, and now you are in it too. This isn't a shuttle, and it doesnt say Radsisson on the side so why would you get in?"

We get "Well this is MY shuttle, I don't know what you are getting at about taxis and such, this is a shuttle."

"No maam, it's not. It's a taxi, that we called. And if we had not called it for our family it wouldn't have been there and you would still be waiting, and so would WE, for the shuttle. BUT, there is plenty of room, and we do not mind sharing the taxi and the fare, so I ask again what is he charging you for the ride?"

Again we get "I dont have to pay a fare, I am taking a shuttle from my hotel to my cruise ship. We've never done this cruising thing before, so I don't know what you mean."

ok, now I start to feel bad (my mistake) and calmly explain again. "Maam. I know the Radisson has shuttles, but this is not one of them. This is a taxi. The only reason they sent a bus is because there is 8 of us. We didn't mean to be rude, but this is the same as jumping in a taxi with someone, do you understand?"

TRUST ME, that was the MOST patience I had at the moment and I felt I at least TRIED to remedy the situation and also apologize.

Mind you, the taxi driver was SILENT the entire time.

My (in my opinion) apology and willingness to work the situation out was met with "Well the Radisson is paying for my shuttle, we stayed there last night, and this gentleman (pointing to the driver) isn't charging us a thing, I guess Radisson is paying him. I really don't know, and honestly could care less."

Ever have one of those moments where you wish the entire world would just explode in one giant massive fireball? Maybe it's just me.

Ok, we tried. Now we arrive at the cruise terminal, from the pics you can see that my brother Tom and I are "extra fluffy" lol. So, the driver jumps out and heads back to the back and starts taking out luggage. Tom and I simply stand up. We give looks to the rest of the family and they sit lol. The couple is standing but Tom and I are in the aisle. They aren't going anywhere. They comment "Excuse us" and Tom says "Oh we're just waiting for the driver, it will just be a minute."

The driver comes back around, sees both Mine and Tom's faces and says "Well gentleman, there appears to have been a mixup" So quickly interrupting I say "Well no, the mixup was yours when this went from being a taxi to a radisson shuttle"

Tom pipes in, "So since this is now a radisson shuttle, and we all stayed at the radisson, we will pay exactly the same fare as this couple for every 2 people we have." and he turns to the couple and says "And what were you being charged again for the ride?" and they answer "Nothing" to which tom and I both say in stereo "EXACTLY" and the driver looks perplexed for a second so I add "Radisson will be paying you for us as well as these people it seems". And then the driver quickly pulls Tom aside outside the bus and says "Sorry for the mixup Mr. Parker, there will be no charge today, this one is on me."

YOU THINK??????????????????????

Ok, lets make a few points clear (oh it gets better just wait) lol.
1, we called a private cab that we were paying for. 2, someone jumped in, causing us a delay. 3, when they were explained the situation we offered to make it all nice-nice lol. 4, they couldnt care less what the real deal was, and played stupid (yes played, you'll see). 5, the taxi driver didnt have the...guts...lol to simply inform them that no, this wasn't their ride, and leave it at that. 6, we have NO IDEA what the "radisson guy" with the clipboard thought he was doing or WHY the taxi driver would listen to/accomodate him without AT LEAST talking to us about it, at which point we would have said fine, but it never was even put before us. And finally, we were NOT looking for a free ride, we were just simply amazed at the woman for jumping in or cab, the driver allowing it to happen, and everyone pretending like nothing had just happened. You all following me here?

So let me ask, Are we wrong somehow here? Would you jump into someone's elses taxi? and if you didnt realize it, and then were told you did would you blow the people off? I mean none of it made sense. We took happy limo from the airport to the hotel, I wouldnt expect the guy to take other people that were going to the radisson just because we had room. Would you? And this (regardless of the vehicle type) is the same type of situation. The biggest thing that bothers me is the downright sense on entitlement, despite the facts, that this woman had. We were going to the ship, and therefore so was she. Didnt matter that it was our taxi, she was getting in. lol Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

ok, so now I'm getting worked up typing it just like I did that day, so I'll do what I had to that day......buddha pose.......ohmmmmmmm....deep breaths....ok all better.

In all of this, it was a miracle but I did manage to snap some pics during the ride:







Ok, so we're finally off the taxi/shuttle bus and we're curbside with our luggage and our new "friends"...AWKWARD! lol, well not for us but they didn't say a word.

Moving on, for now. The porters took our bags, gave us a quick talk, then it was time to make our way inside. Finally! Woohoo!
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Last edited by HiddenMickeys; 12-04-2009 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 11-21-2009, 01:29 PM   #15
HiddenMickeys
Not all treaure is silver and gold. Some is CHOCOLATE! With EARS! "On a steek!"
 
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So we start making our way towards the terminal:





We breeze through security and up the escalator we go. This was Momma's view (I apologize for the fat guy in baggy shorts in the way)


My view was better.


Oh the anticipation (any other peeps out there singing the old ketchup commercial song? lol)


Finally! We're here! There's the ship! The Model! The Ears! All the stuff we've only seen pictures of!


So what do we do? Take pictures of course lol.












See the guy on the left in line? That would be the husband from the bus. They literally ran to get into line.
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